The past couple of weeks in Washington have been insane. Congressional and White House meetings over debt relief and deficit reduction look like a wicked dance of death between Democrats and Republicans in the political theater called Divided Government.
The negotiations…well, there really weren’t negotiations on both sides. The Democrats just folded in the face of almost every GOP proposal. The behind closed door maneuverings are not about getting Americans back on their feet but about which party is the last standing on its feet.
After the mid term elections last fall, President Obama and Congress were all about jobs. Yet, have you heard anybody in this current political debacle making jobs the priority? Has there been serious discussion about reducing the 9.2 percent unemployment rate? Oh, the phrase “job creation” has been bandied about. And the Republicans frequently talk about helping the “job creators.” (Read that “the rich.”) But the people who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their dignity are on the sidelines. More than 14 million Americans.
The debt ceiling must be raised. Everybody agrees to that. But the Republicans have turned what–in the past–would have been an easy vote, into a major undertaking. They want to tackle the long-term deficit by cutting spending on social programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; calling for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget; and, for God’s sake, don’t impose any more taxes on the wealthy.
I teach at a college and I suspect that many of the students accepted for admission, as well as returning students, may not be in our classrooms this fall. We saw it last year. Their parents have lost jobs and can’t afford the tuition and other expenses. Because there have been cuts in federal and state financial aid. Their dreams of earning a college degree may be dashed forever.
I don’t want to hear about what happens to the deficit in 2015 or 2020. I want to hear about the unemployed who desperately need and want to go to work now, right now.
Shouldn’t there be some quid pro quo that will relieve the rich of more taxes only if they create a specific number of jobs. They’ve got to give up something.
In the face of the gridlock in Washington and the seeming lack of concern for the citizens of this country, I’m reminded of a part of the Declaration of Independence in which says government should secure the rights of the people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It then states:
“…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
You see our country is based on the Right of the People, not just the rights of Tea Partiers or the rich and powerful. Don’t we need to remind them?